The most amazing things happen when you’re open to the world. There is wonder, joy, awe, forgiveness, connection and gratitude. Or is it more important to you to be certain?
Certainty has its benefits. It feels safer to be certain. It’s easier to be certain because you don’t have to re-think decisions or opinions. You don’t have to take a chance of having a bad meal or being embarrassed because you tried something you couldn’t do. You don’t have to decide who to vote for, or what to think of yourself or someone else.
The problem with certainty, in my opinion, is that it limits growth and perspective. Certainty is also boring. Do you know anyone who is always certain, always right? It’s somewhat obnoxious, isn’t it? It’s a barrier to intimacy because if I’m not open to someone else’s authenticity (because I’ve already decided who or what they are), then I can’t ever really see them. If I’m not open to different interpretations of my self then I can’t really know who I am either. I also feel like I’m in a rut when I will only entertain the same routine every day. My opportunities for psychological, spiritual, emotional, intellectual or physical improvement are limited when I’m closed.
Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with comfort or relaxing. But perhaps you’d like to reconsider your open/closed ratio. Are you open to that question? If so, answer these questions:
- Do you stop and really listen to opinions you disagree with? Or do you start shaking your head “No” right away?
- Do you look strangers in the eye, or keep your gaze fixed straight ahead or down?
- Do you strike up conversations with people you don’t know, or keep it all business?
- When walking or driving by yourself, do you attend to your thoughts or notice your environment?
- When some invites you to try a new activity or dish, how frequently will you choose to try it? I mean, really try it to see if you like it? (Trying it but immediately saying you don’t like it doesn’t count).
- When someone compliments you (or criticizes you), are you willing to accept their statement at face value, or do you dismiss it without thinking?
- When was the last time you challenged your conception about yourself – your talents, strengths, weaknesses, personality, beliefs – or someone else?
- What recent experience created surprise, awe, inspiration or joy for you?
- When someone wrongs you, how frequently do you reconsider your initial judgment or opinion and end up with a more forgiving interpretation?
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